Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley completes health needs assessment

Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment that will help the hospital system prioritize and guide its efforts in the next three years.

Working with the Kent State University College of Public Health, Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley reviewed a wide variety of epidemiologic data for Columbiana, Trumbull, and Mahoning counties. Additional input was obtained from community resident focus groups and interviews with community leaders and public health experts.

“The input that was provided by these focus groups and community leaders helped to reinforce the data that was gathered,” said Sharon Hrina, vice president of Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. “This collaborative effort will allow us to work with other organizations to improve many of the health disparities in our community.”

A steering committee comprised of members from the hospital directed the effort, which began in April 2013.

The following were among the health needs identified as priorities for adults and children through the 2013 assessment:

• Chronic diseases, such as asthma and diabetes
• Maternal and infant health, such as premature births and infant mortality
• Child lifestyle factors, such as obesity, exercise, and nutrition
• Mental health concerns for children
• Substance abuse, including opiate drug abuse
• Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea
• Access to health care, including health insurance coverage and access to pediatric specialists
• Environmental factors, including access to healthy food

The hospital is developing implementation plans and setting goals. Some will be collaborative.

The Community Health Needs Assessment provides an opportunity to look at the needs of the community and develop strategies to meet those needs, either individually or collaboratively, and serves as a blueprint for the next three years.

Implementation strategies will most likely be based on the hospital’s current activities, the potential for community impact and available resources.

This is the second time the hospital conducted a community health needs assessment; the first was conducted in 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 now requires non-profit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments every three years.

“Whether this is a mandated activity or not, I know those of us at Akron Children’s believe this is part of our mission – to listen to and learn from the community.” said Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s. “We are fortunate to live in a community that has so many wonderful organizations and agencies committed to helping people and improving lives.”

Copies of the assessment will be available on the hospital’s website by the end of December.

© 2014 Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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